Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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PewPewPew 07-30-2011 10:54 PM

Hagen Natural cO2?
Hey, all. I hope this is in an alright place- if its not, I apologize!

I have two 5 gallon planted tanks as well as a 10g planted. I've really started to get into live plants, but am limited in what I do because I dont have cO2.

My dorm does not allow pressurized canisters of cO2 like the tanks or paintball gun ones, but apparently will allow "natural", yeast-based ones.

So, Ive been looking into Hagen's NutraFin natural CO2 set ups.

Any experience with it?

I like the price, the size and the natural application. Ive heard it produces less cO2 than other equips, but thats fine. DIY is out of the question. :(

Thanks for the help :)

kitten_penang 07-31-2011 07:01 AM

neat set-up.i haven't used one though.imo for such small tanks it should be ok as you can't really stock a lot of plants in a 5 or 10 gallon

Strand 07-31-2011 08:27 AM

Why not just use excel?

Byron 07-31-2011 11:56 AM

I would like to know your definition of being "limited" with respect to plants because of not having CO2. The vast majority of aquarium plants will grow fine without adding any CO2. I can explain further if you like, but first let us know what plants you want to keep.

Liquid carbon products like Excel have side issues and I never recommend them. They will kill some plants, and if overdosed fish too. I prefer keeping such products out of a fish tank.

Increasing CO2 will mean increasing light and the other 16 nutrients to balance. Sometimes simpler, especially with a small tank like a 5g or 10g, is better.


PewPewPew 08-01-2011 01:55 PM

Thanks for the replies, everyone. Strangely, the replies from TFK never appear in my user CP. Im glad I hunted around.

Byron, I'm mostly talking about carpet plants, which I've been advised do best with cO2, as well as a few other plants, including riccia. I had a massive plant die off due to extreme heat a while back and was looking to add plants that were a bit different, considering I have many tall plants and few short ones.

I currently have dwarf onion plants, java ferns (tall and a short, thin variety, the name escapes me!), anubias nana, young water sprite, dwarf sag, Brazilian pennywort, elodea/anacharis, hygrophila difformis, a broken up marimo ball/moss, a small patch of dwarf hairgrass, banana lily plant (nymphoides aquatica) and two young (very young, lol!) amazon swords. I may have other plants in there, but I cant remember at the moment. Theyre all in there because I had to take down my other 5 gallon as a grow out for water sprite.

I do not really like excel, either. I've seen and heard of it melting too many of the plants I enjoy keeping in my tanks and dont like the side-effects.

I've also wanted to boost my plants and their growth via the cO2.

My lighting is one 6500K daylight bulb for 10-12-13 (if I forget, woops!) hours in the hood, and for around 5+ hours in a day I double up the light witha second 6500K daylight bulb to simulate high noon, as was recommended, though Im uncertain if it truly helps. My plants appear to enjoy it, so Im assuming it helps! The tanks are also cycled.

I use 3 ferts, two liquid and one root tab. Im limited in what I can buy, unfortunately.

Aqueon Plant food:
Soluble Potash K2O
Iron (.12% chleated)
Molybednum (Honestly, this is the only one Ive never heard of, lol!)

And apparently Kelp Extract. Hrm. I like this product, and its probably one of the better available in my teeny tiny town.

I also use Tetra Flora Pride, at a lower dose than normal, mostly for the iron.
My plants seemed to like the addition, so Ive kept up with it.

Soluble Potash 3%
Iron water sol. .19%

And my root tabs, API's because Flourish's are never in stock. Boo!

Nitrogen 3% (total)
Avail Phosphate 1%
Soluble potash 1%
Iron 5% (chelated )

I add new Aqueon about every week, Floura Pride usually every or every other and new tabs every month.

Would you not recommend keeping cO2 in my 5's or the 10G? If so, why not? Too dangerous and complicated?

I would also love to keep on of the 5's as a planted tank/grow out for plants to give to fellow fish lovers around my campus. I do it now with anacharis and water sprite, but would like to boost their growth and robustness.

I hope I didnt fumble over myself with this long post, lol! Did I reply to everything? Gyugh, I hope so. :)

Byron 08-01-2011 02:40 PM

That detail helps, thanks. You will need to increase the light if you go with CO2; assuming we are talking a 10g, I use two 10w daylight 6500K bulbs (compact fluorescent, assuming this is what you're using too, not fluorescent tubes) without CO2 and it balances; so with CO2 this should double at a guess, you need to work out the balance. Nutrients might have to increase too; if what you're adding is sufficient now, then increasing the plant's needs with double light and CO2 will require more. I can't suggest how much, because I have never gone down this road.

And this road you may need to travel, given your plant choices and desire for faster growth. So, I must leave that with you. I'm still not convinced this is worth it in a 5g. If Mikaila31 sees this, she may have some advice as she has considerable experience with high-tech systems using CO2.


PewPewPew 08-01-2011 02:58 PM

Thank you, Byron.

That stinks! Boo. I may keep considering it with my boyfriend's 10g, after much more research. I'm the one with more plants, but the smaller tanks (the 5's). Its almost unfair.

The above lighting, plants and ferts were mine in a 5g. I think I'll leave the cO2 idea for now.

Sorry to keep bothering you, but just to ask...

Those ferts and lighting, is that good from what you can tell? I'm almost embarrassed to ask, but I see your plant posts and oh! I love to read them and learn. I think I'm beginning to like plants more than my dear fish... But dont tell them!

Thank you, Byron, and thanks, everyone. :)


Oops- As per the lighting. The 10G has two CFL bulbs and my 5 has a tubular Fluorescent in-tank (my hood is too narrow for a spiral :C) and a CFL outside.

Byron 08-01-2011 03:30 PM

The Aqueon fertilizer looks good, I have checked it out online previusly for another member. My main issue with it is how much you need to use; it gets expensive. I use Flourish Comprehensive Supplement myself, and for a 10g a 1/4 teaspoon once a week does it. This balances with my two 10w bulbs and CO2 from the biological processes in the tank.

The Tetra Flora Pride is only iron and potash, and I am not sure how beneficial that is. Iron is essential, but it is only a trace element for most plants, and as it is already in the Aqueon, more should not be necessary. In my view.

The problem with adding too much of this or that nutrient is that some of them are toxic. Iron is, for instance; iron is a heavy metal and in excess will kill plants and fish. Now, excess obviously means more than what you would normally dose. But, if that is more than the plants need in balance with everything else, it is still "toxic" to the plants. Some can "take up" toxins, some can store excess nutrients. But to a limit. After all, water conditioners that detoxify heavy metals--iron, copper, nickel, zinc, manganese--do so to protect the fish, and the level of any of these in municipal water supplies will only be trace amounts. [I now use a water conditioner that does not detoxify heavy metals, as my plants need them and can just as easily detoxify any trace amounts in the water.] So if we are concerned about heavy metals in tap water to this extent, we should be equally concerned about overdosing them in a fertilizer. It would admittedly take some overdosing to cause fish or plant deaths, but I'd rather not test that myself.

There is also the fact that some nutrients in excess can cause plants to shut down assimilation of other nutrients. An excess of potassium for instance causes a deficiency in iron. Several others do too.

I like Flourish Comp because it contains all necessary nutrients (except hydrogen, oxygen and carbon which naturally occur in any fish tank) and in proportion to each other according to the needs of most aquatic plants. And it takes such a minimal dose, 1/2 teaspoon treats 30 gallons, once a week or twice at most. Economical too considering the amount used.

PewPewPew 08-01-2011 07:18 PM

I understand. Thanks for the info, I've been reading that lately but it has yet to ever be so direct. Lots of highfalutin' words out there make it confusing. Now I get it.

I think I'll stop with the Tetra stuff. I Bought it a good while back and didnt know or realize plants enjoy a more comprehensive fertilizer... Oh well, live and learn.

My water from the tap is well water, which goes through a softener. Ive heard and read that softened water is not ideal, and have been testing my water from the spigot (not hose) over time to see if that helps at all. I dont actually even use conditioner in my tanks, since there's no chlorine anyway.

Just did a 10% PWC and top off from evaporation :)

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